Discretionary enforcement by DEQ in Oklahoma


While the state of Colorado promises to be aggressive in its enforcement of environmental rules after the EPA announced suspension of enforcement of air quality rules, the state of Oklahoma is handling matters on a case-by-case basis.

Robert D. Singletary, General Counsel for the Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality addressed the issue in a recent memo written after the governor’s declaration of an emergency health crisis.

“Consistent with our mission and statutory responsibilities, the DEQ will continue to ensure compliance with regulatory obligations necessary to protect health and safety,” he wrote in the March 30 memo. “However, the DEQ understands that the COVID-19 pandemic presents numerous potential challenges to the ability of regulated entities to comply with certain regulatory requirements.”

Singletary said the DEQ would continue to work with the regulated communities on “a case-by-case basis to determine the most effective and reasonable approach to ensure compliance with applicable environmental requirements.”

He added that enforcement discretion might not be appropriate in all situations the DEQ will exercise discretion “while focusing its enforcement efforts on compliance issues directly impacting human health.”

In Colorado, environmental advocates have called on the state to stop issuing new emissions permits


Officials with the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment sent a letter to companies last Friday stating their plans to continue enforcement of laws aimed at preventing emissions of planet-warming greenhouse and toxic gases and water pollution.

Source: DEQ Oklahoma